COACH’S BITE PRO­PELS BULL­DOGS TO VIC­TORY

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMPSON

A HALF- TIME dress­ing down from Bull­dogs coach Tony Burke pro­vided the nec­es­sary rocket for Thuringowa to over­power Curra Swans by 47 points on Satur­day.

Beaten by arch ri­vals Her­mit Park the pre­vi­ous week­end, Thuringowa were play­ing to re­dis­cover the premier­ship met­tle but first con­tact with their op­po­si­tion did not go to plan. Curra went kick for kick with their fan­cied ri­vals and had booted three goals to Thuringowa’s two by first quar­ter’s end and the con­test re­mained tight in the sec­ond as the Bull­dogs nosed ahead by 20 points go­ing into the main break.

“I had to put the word on the boys at half- time that they were just go­ing through the mo­tions and they didn’t look good,” Burke said.

“We ex­pected the Swans to come out hard and that’s ex­actly what they did. They were first to the ball in the first half and we had a few things to talk about; we didn’t just want our for­wards kick­ing more goals – we also needed our mid­dle to run more and our backs needed to be tighter.”

The half- time mo­ti­va­tor worked, with Thuringowa surg­ing to a 57point buf­fer by the end of the third term af­ter kick­ing six unan­swered ma­jors and re­strict­ing Curra to just one be­hind. Curra hit back to outscore the Bull­dogs five goals to three in the fi­nal term but it was too lit­tle, too late, with Thuringowa win­ning 18.16 ( 124) to 12.5 ( 77). Only a su­pe­rior points dif­fer­en­tial now sep­a­rates the Bull­dogs and Her­mit Park, who have 12 wins and two losses each fol­low­ing the Tigers’ 26.15 ( 171) to 3.3 ( 21) win over the Townsville City Lions. NICK Riewoldt added to his AFL leg­end yesterday, pro­duc­ing a best- afield per­for­mance de­spite two dodgy calves.

The St Kilda cap­tain kicked three goals and took a game­high 13 marks in tough con­di­tions at the MCG as his team posted a scrappy 37- point win over Mel­bourne.

Adding to a good day for the Saints in mis­er­able weather, Riewoldt’s key for­ward un­der- study Paddy McCartin took nine marks in easily his best se­nior game.

Three days af­ter his twoyear con­tract ex­ten­sion was an­nounced, Saints coach Alan Richard­son ad­mit­ted that the 12.11 ( 83) to 6.10 ( 46) win put the team slightly ahead of his ex­pec­ta­tions for this sea­son.

Riewoldt was in doubt for last week be­cause of a right calf mus­cle in­jury and he suf­fered a corked quar­ter.

He looks un­likely to fly across for next Sun­day’s game against Port Ade­laide.

“He’s amaz­ing. He’s got a very strong mind. He’s a very de­ter­mined per­son,” Richard­son said.

“He’s had a long ca­reer where he’s had to fight through some ad­ver­sity with his body.”

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Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

TOO LIT­TLE, TOO LATE: Curra’s Adam Walker grabs the ball from Bull­dogs ri­vals but it wasn’t enough for the Swans to clinch the game at Tony Ire­land Sta­dium on Satur­day.

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